Iran’s President-elect, ultra-conservative cleric Ebrahim Raissi, pledged today to form a “working, revolutionary and anti-corruption” government, alluding to strict compliance with the principles of the country’s theocratic system.
In a statement, Raissi presented himself as “a servant of the Islamic Republic in its entirety”, both of those who voted for him in the presidential elections on Friday, as well as of the other candidates and those who abstained.
The Iranian cleric and leader of the judiciary got 61.9% of the votes in elections (the news agency France-Presse, AFP, gives an account of 61.95%), but turnout was exceptionally low, 48.8%, the worst rate of all presidential elections held in Iran since the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Despite this, Raissi stated that, “once again, the world witnessed a great epic” of a nation “that rose and opened a new page in history contemporary with faith, knowledge and solidarity”.
The low participation rate was also dedramatized by the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who, on Saturday, spoke of an “epic” participation of the population, who knew how to face “the propaganda of the enemy’s mercenary press”, who called for abstention .
The victory of Raissi, an Iranian leader who is under US sanctions, implies a return to the hard line of the Iranian presidency at a delicate moment, both internally, where social discontent has grown in recent years, and externally.
Internationally, Iran is engaging in new nuclear negotiations to rescue the historic 2015 agreement after easing tensions with the United States following the arrival of Joe Biden at the top of the US administration (20 January this year).
However, it remains to be seen whether the trend will continue with Raissi in the Iranian presidency.
The State Department, without explicitly acknowledging Raissi’s long-awaited victory, said Saturday that the Iranians could not participate in a “free and fair” presidential election but that, despite the results, the United States wanted to continue nuclear talks.